Heart-breaking recordings reveal the pain of owners having to give up their dog in lockdown.
Dogs Trust has released heart-breaking recordings of real phone calls from owners having to give up their dogs because of COVID-19.
The recordings form part of the charity's Change the Tale campaign, which encourages owners to seek help if they are struggling to care for their dog in the fallout from the pandemic.
It comes as figures released by Dogs Trust show there has been a 41 per cent rise in web traffic to its 'Giving up your Dog' page over the last six months.
In one recording, a woman shares the pain of giving up her dog having lost her job and home. Other callers cite the burden of house evictions, increased working hours and financial difficulties.
Dogs Trust is sharing the recordings via radio and video adverts (see below) highlighting the ongoing struggles of the pandemic. The adverts encourage people to Change the Tale for dogs affected by COVID-19 and seek help if they can no longer care for their pet.
Dogs Trust chief executive, Owen Sharp, commented: “We know that the pandemic and its economic repercussions will have devastating effects on some people’s lives and their ability to care for their pets.
"When people take on the responsibilities of dog ownership, they do so with the best intentions to care for them long-term. But as the calls to Dogs Trust show, in these extraordinary times, circumstances can change in a heartbeat, leaving owners with incredibly tough decisions to make."
Dogs Trust provides support for owners without a home and offers a unique fostering service for owners experiencing domestic abuse. It has produced online videos helping owners tackle behaviours resulting from lockdown, such as separation anxiety.
The charity also offers the Canine Care Card, which guarantees that if an owner passes away or becomes unwell, their dog will be cared for by Dogs Trust.
Mr Sharp added: “It is heart-breaking to hear someone having to choose between a roof over their head or their dog, and we’d like to thank the people who made these calls for allowing us to share their story and for coming to us in their time of need.
"Unfortunately, we believe the worst is yet to come and we expect many more calls like this as the pandemic fallout continues - and we will do all we can to help those in need of our support.”
If you or someone you know are struggling and need advice on giving up your dog, or if you would like to donate to Dogs Trust, visit dogstrust.org.uk